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Electricity in the Work Place - Electricity Risk Assessments

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)
Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

Safe, Suitable for Purpose, Properly Installed and Properly Maintained

Together the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 impose an obligation on employers and the self-employed to ensure that work equipment is constructed or adapted so as to be suitable for the purpose for which it is used or provided.  They also impose an obligation to ensure that it is maintained, so far as reasonably practicable, so as to prevent danger.

In summary, all electrical work equipment must be safe, suitable for purpose and properly maintained in good order.  This covers everything from small portable equipment such as hairdryers to hard-wired appliances such as hand driers in washrooms or ovens in commercial kitchens. 

Where necessary for safe operation, instructions should be readily available and proper training provided.

Portable Equipment means any item of electrical current using equipment that is plugged into a socket outlet such as:

Stationary equipment eg refrigerator or washing machine

IT equipment such as computers, printers, monitors etc

Moveable equipment 18kg or less in mass and not fixed eg electric fire or small welding set

Portable equipment 18kg or less intended to be moved while in operation eg toaster, food mixer, kettle

Hand-held equipment intended to be held in the hand during normal use eg hairdryer or power drill

Fixed Equipment means any items of electrical current using equipment that is “hard-wired” into a fused connection unit or isolation device.

All fixed equipment must be properly installed by technicians properly qualified to do the installation and maintained in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

The testing and maintenance regime generally varies between portable appliances and hard-wired installations

Wiring Colour Codes

The wires of a 3 core mains lead are usually coloured as follows:

Earth  - Green / Yellow
Neutral  - Blue
Live  - Brown

The old red, black and green colours are undesirable.

Contact us to help you conduct a full risk assessment of your premises

Additional Reading:

Quick Guide - Electricity in the Workplace

Quick Guide - Testing and Maintaining Electrical Equipment

Quick Guide - Supplying Electrical Equipment in the Course of a Business

Quick Guide - Plugs and Sockets

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